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Unit (2019)

Information on this page, including unit offerings, is from the 2019 academic year.

Ecology (ENV241)

Organisational Unit Environmental and Conservation Sciences
Credit Points 3
Availability MURDOCH: S2-internal, S2-external
Teaching Timetables Murdoch S2
Description Ecology concerns interactions of biota that determine their distribution and abundance. Students study ecological concepts, the scientific method, and their practical application in the field. Theory will cover interactions from the level of individuals, through populations, communities, ecosystems and finally, the biosphere. The unit is taught from an evolutionary perspective and will use familiar Australian examples to augment understanding. A field component is integral: all students participate in the collection and interpretation of a substantial set of ecological field data.
Unit Learning Outcomes On successful completion of the unit students will be able to:
1. Demonstrate understanding of ecological concepts through written work.
2. Display research skills resulting from experiences working alone and with others in the practical sessions.
3. Prepare a scientific report that introduces and records ecological observations, explores, analyses and presents data to test hypotheses and presents logical conclusions based on these analyses.
Timetabled Learning Activities Lectures: 2 hours per week; computer laboratories: 1 x 3 hours; one week field component in either the first or second non-teaching week (see below).
Unit Learning Experiences The presentation of the Ecology unit is a fusion of theory and practice. Lectures provide the framework to understand key ecological concepts (i.e., the theory) and how these are developed through investigative research. The lecturers will also give students an appreciation of the amazing diversity of plants, animals and other forms of life in marine, aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems on plant earth. Students can expect to learn how ecologists seek, describe and test general principles to understand and to manage the biological diversity with which we share the planet. The unit textbook contains most of the required reading material but other texts are recommended by the lecturers to keep current with advances in understanding of the discipline.

The collection and interpretation of ecological data is a very important skill in the work place and therefore, the field component is one of our areas of emphasis in Ecology. The preparation of a report will enable students to work with real data that they have helped to collect, and to understand the ecological significance of the data by interpreting it in the light of information from the scientific literature. The practical components (data analysis and field trip) illustrate and contextualize the theoretical framework provided by the lecture material. The field component also provides students with opportunities for both self-directed and group learning. Student feedback for the learning experiences facilitated by the 'outdoor classrooms' and interactions with staff and other students highlight the popularity and value of the field component of the unit.

Communication and discussion in the Unit will be facilitated by the use of Moodle as this provided a key contact point for both staff and students. Moodle will contain -
* Echo lecture recording
* Discussion board
* Unit guide
* Field practical data sets
* Announcements about the unit.
Other Learning Experiences One-week field component during which students will design, collect, collate, analyse and begin to interpret a substantial amount of ecological data.
Assessment Assessments test for competency in the learning outcomes. Students will submit a short report consisting of graphs and some accompanying text after attending a computer class to familiarise them with data synthesis and analysis (10%; due early semester). Three quizzes will test student understanding of the lecture material (5% each; Weeks 4, 8 and 12). Students will submit a large report based on data they have collected in the field (30%; due mid-late semester). The end-of-semester exam (2 hrs; 45%) covers understanding of ecological theory and scientific method. Staff are available for consultation and work closely with students in the field. Students who work consistently throughout the semester should pass the unit.
Prerequisites BIO103 Environmental Biology/Introduction to Environmental Biology or BIO180 Introduction to Marine Biology.
Exclusions Students who have successfully completed ENV268 Ecology may not enrol in this unit for credit.
Appears in these Courses/Majors:
see individual structures for context
Animal Health (BSc) [New in 2015]
Animal Science (BSc) [New in 2014]
Biological Sciences (BSc) [New in 2014]
Biology and Environmental Science Major Teaching Area (BEd(Sec)) [New in 2019]
Biomedical Science (BSc) [New in 2014]
Chemistry (BSc) [New in 2014]
Clinical Laboratory Science (BSc) [New in 2015]
Conservation and Wildlife Biology (BSc) [New in 2014]
Crop and Pasture Science (BSc) [New in 2016]
Earth and Environmental Science Major Teaching Area (BEd(Sec)) [New in 2019]
Engineering Technology (BSc) [New in 2014]
Environmental Management and Sustainability (BSc) [New in 2014]
Environmental Science (BSc) [New in 2014]
Forensic Biology and Toxicology (BSc) [New in 2014]
Genetics and Molecular Biology (BSc) [New in 2014]
Marine Biology (BSc) [New in 2017]
Marine Science (BSc) [New in 2014]
Mathematics and Statistics (BSc) [New in 2014]
Mineral Science (BSc) [New in 2014]
Physics and Nanotechnology (BSc) [New in 2014]
Sport and Health Science (BSc) [New in 2014]
Appears in these Co-Majors Biological Science Minor Teaching Area
Earth and Environmental Science Minor Teaching Area
Appears in these Minors Ecosystem Management
Marine Biology
Sustainability, Ecosystems and Community Development
Wildlife Conservation
Internet Access RequirementsMurdoch units normally include an online component comprising materials, discussions, lecture recordings and assessment activities. All students, regardless of their location or mode of study, need to have access to and be able to use computing devices with browsing capability and a connection to the Internet via Broadband (Cable, ADSL or Mobile) or Wireless. The Internet connection should be readily available and allow large amounts of data to be streamed or downloaded (approximately 100MB per lecture recording). Students also need to be able to enter into online discussions and submit assignments online.


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